A Republican Congressman, who heads a powerful Congressional committee, has urged the Biden Administration to investigate and produce a report on the global competitiveness of the US rice industry, arguing that this is needed in the context of the recent developments of major global rice producing and exporting countries, including the United States, China, India, Bangladesh, Brazil and Pakistan.
In a letter to US International Trade Commission Chairman David S Johanson, Congressman Jason Smith, Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said that lawmakers are in need of an updated review and analysis of the global rice market to implement policies that will best ensure US producers are able to compete on a level playing field.
The last similar report by USITC was produced in 2015.
“Given the significant changes that have occurred in the global rice market since 2015, policymakers would benefit from fresh analysis to determine the extent to which American rice producers face unfair competition around the world,” Smith said.
This review must include an objective investigation into the subsidies that other producing and exporting countries provide to their domestic rice producers in order to better understand how those subsidies distort markets and harm export opportunities for US rice producers, he said.
Among other things, Smith asked the USITC head to include in the report recent developments in the US rice industry as well as those of other major global rice producers and exporters like Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Paraguay, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
He also asked for trade trends and developments in the global rice market that impact both US and foreign imports and exports.
“I strongly suspect that unfair subsidies and other policies in foreign countries have contributed to a decrease in US rice exports over the last decade, from USD2.2 billion in 2013 to USD1.7 billion in 2022. Given a level playing field, American rice producers will win more customers around the world and support more American jobs,” Smith said.
Smith’s letter to the USITC comes in advance of a Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing to be held on Wednesday, Febr 7focused on “Advancing America’s Interests at the World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Meeting.”